Analysis Of Frederick Douglass, A Runaway Slave And Black Abolitionist

1048 Words Feb 11th, 2016 5 Pages
Frederick Douglass, a runaway slave and black abolitionist, delivered his speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” to emphasize the hypocrisy of Independence Day in America. Douglass’s purpose was to gain support from the group of people who have yet to choose one side or the other by pointing out the hypocrisy in the idea of freedom when only a fraction of Americans were truly free. He adopts a frustrated tone in order to convey to America, especially abolitionists, the mistreatments that slaves receive in the South and the lack of change. First, Douglass opens his speech by using rhetorical questions meant to make his listeners think about what the Fourth of July means to not only them but slaves as well. Douglass develops ethos in his introduction by establishing that he identifies with what the slaves are feeling because he has been in their shoes before. Douglass says, “What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of national justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?” (285) Douglass knew that the answer to the second question was no; he asks the question to make it clear to the country as a whole that there is a lack of equality in the nation. His use of rhetorical questions not only makes his audience think, but he also hopes that by asking deep, meaningful questions, people will alter their views on slavery and join in his fight to put an end to it.…

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